TRENTON – A resolution sponsored by Senator Shirley K. Turner that would encourage Delaware River refiners to agree to use double hulled tankers by July 1 passed the Senate Transportation Committee today.
“The November 26 oil spill on the Delaware river showed us just how much damage can be done to the region by a spill,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “By the time the spill was contained, over 450,000 gallons of oil poured into the Delaware, injuring or killing scores of birds and wildlife and requiring over $95 million in clean-up. If the oil had been shipped in a double hilled tanker, this environmental disaster could have been avoided.”
Senate Resolution 87 urges oil refiners along the Delaware River to act decisively to minimize the threat of a catastrophic oil spill by voluntarily agreeing to use double hulled oil tankers for the transportation of crude oil by July 1, 2005. After the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, Congress passed a law requiring all tankers in United States waters to be double hulled, but the law gives companies until 2015 to comply.
The Delaware River and Bay is home to the fifth largest port complex in the United States in total waterborne commerce. Every year, more than 70 million tons of cargo move through the tri-state port complex, which includes the major ports of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Camden, Gloucester City, and Salem, New Jersey, and Wilmington, Delaware. It is the second largest oil port in the United States, handling about 85% of the East Coast’s oil imports.
“With the amount of oil tanker traffic on the Delaware, we can’t afford another ten years with the single hulled tankers,” added Senator Turner. “For smaller ports, the risk may be acceptable, but the people of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware do not want to take a chance on having another spill caused by these unsafe tankers. I hope that the oil refiners of the region will be good corporate citizens and accelerate their plans to use double hulled tankers on the Delaware River.”
The resolution passed the Senate Transportation Committee by a vote of 5-0.